Huge curved roof defines architect Rodrigo Simão’s House in Samambaia, Brazil

Designed by architect Rodrigo Simão for himself and his family in Petropolis in Rio de Janeiro, this house is a lightweight airy structure that becomes one with the landscape.

by Meghna Mehta Published on : Jul 04, 2020

Brazilian architect Rodrigo Simão of Rodrigo Simão Arquitetura has designed a home for himself and his family in Samambaia, Petropolis, a city north of Rio De Janeiro in Brazil. The house is characterised by a one-curve roof that creates the visual outline for this home. The roof here becomes the focus of the entire structure primarily due to the design that allows the other elements to subdue themselves and behave as supporting elements while the roof dominates the geometry underneath.

  • Sketch of the House in Samambaia designed by Rodrigo Simão | House in Samambaia| Rodrigo Simão Arquitetura | STIRworld
    Sketch of the House in Samambaia designed by Rodrigo Simão Image Credit: André Nazareth
  • Sketch defining the single roof geometry of the house | House in Samambaia| Rodrigo Simão Arquitetura | STIRworld
    Sketch defining the single roof geometry of the house Image Credit: André Nazareth

“The house boasts towards the preservation of relief, stones and native trees, creating functional spaces that integrate domestic life with the nature of the place. The concepts of an open space, the use of materials in their natural form and integration with nature seek to inspire the family with simplicity, a functional and an integrated lifestyle,” says Simão.

Single curved roof accentuating the outline of the building | House in Samambaia| Rodrigo Simão Arquitetura | STIRworld
Single curved roof accentuating the outline of the building Image Credit: André Nazareth

The house allows transparency through the spaces as well as the entire structure due to the glass walls that run from the floor to the roof. Divided by a slim frame carbon-steel structure that has been used throughout the dwelling, these span across large sections to allow large window openings and create airy and open spaces that subtly converse with the garden and the lush green landscape of the region. The roof is made of a metal structure and hardwood floorboards, covered by a blanket of asphalt and lined with shingles.

  • Living area where the family spends most of the time | House in Samambaia| Rodrigo Simão Arquitetura | STIRworld
    Living area where the family spends most of the time Image Credit: André Nazareth
  • The newly-built playroom and treehouse for the children | House in Samambaia| Rodrigo Simão Arquitetura | STIRworld
    The newly-built playroom and treehouse for the children Image Credit: André Nazareth

The supporting columns were made of steel pipes filled with ‘auto adensável’ or 'self-compacting' concrete and have been recessed against the glass edges contributing to the lightness and dematerialisation of the structure. This lightweight structure of the house rests on a foundation of masonry stone walls that lift it off the floor in order to avoid moisture and animals.

The common space that allows ample light into all other areas | House in Samambaia| Rodrigo Simão Arquitetura | STIRworld
The common space that allows ample light into all other areas Image Credit: André Nazareth

Landscaping became a huge part of the design due to the transparency of the house that accentuates the pre-existing native species, which at some points cross the slabs as well. “The curved roof rises in the direction of the rising sun. Especially in the room facing north, the incidence of sunshine is vital to health in a mountainous city like Petropolis,” says Simão.

The outdoor areas | House in Samambaia| Rodrigo Simão Arquitetura | STIRworld
The outdoor areas Image Credit: André Nazareth

In the parts of the house, where glass walls have been replaced with concrete walls, the exposed concrete gives a natural and brutalist effect to the overall ambience. For the same, the concrete had been moulded in a formwork of 10cm battens, thus exploiting its properties, eliminating human labour and excess use of materials. A polished concrete slab makes for the economical flooring in the entire house with a fine finish, and effective waterproofing for the balconies and terraces.

Treehouse, the latest addition to the structure | House in Samambaia| Rodrigo Simão Arquitetura | STIRworld
Treehouse, the latest addition to the structure Image Credit: André Nazareth

This house by Rodrigo Simão in Samambaia in Petropolis in Brazil has received extensions after having been built in 2014, with a playroom and an atelier for artist Katharina Welper, the architect’s wife, complementing the integration between architecture and landscaping.

  • The glass walls that extend from the ground till the roof with the help of a steel framework | House in Samambaia| Rodrigo Simão Arquitetura | STIRworld
    The glass walls that extend from the ground till the roof with the help of a steel framework Image Credit: André Nazareth
  • House in Samambaia as seen within the landscape of the region | House in Samambaia| Rodrigo Simão Arquitetura | STIRworld
    House in Samambaia as seen within the landscape of the region Image Credit: André Nazareth

Many materials have been reused and repurposed in the house 100-year-old stones dismantled from a wall were redone by a local craftsman while the access stairs to the mezzanine and terraces were created out of recycled steel. Old doors have been used to make wooden furniture such as hardwood ladders, wooden floors and bathroom countertops that contribute to the domesticity of industrial materials.

The layout of the house allows a visual connect with the surrounding landscape | House in Samambaia| Rodrigo Simão Arquitetura | STIRworld
The layout of the house allows a visual connect with the surrounding landscape Image Credit: André Nazareth

Rodrigo Simão’s house, which also accommodates his and his wife’s studio along with a new treehouse, is a lightweight, airy and homely adobe that welcomes and appreciates nature in a humble setting.

Project Details

Name: House in Samambaia
Architect: Rodrigo Simão Arquitetura
Location: Petrópolis, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil
Completion Year: 2014
Structural Engineering: Concrete Structure: Alvaro Moraes Architecture
Management / Coordination: Rodrigo Simão Architecture
Foundation Project: Alvaro Moraes Architecture
Lighting Design: Rodrigo Simão Architecture
Interior Design: Rodrigo Simão Architecture and Katharina Welper
Landscaping Project: Katharina Welper and Rodrigo Simão Architecture
Hydraulic / Electrical Install Projects: Vega Engenharia

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